Have you ever used GPS and accidentally gone the wrong way because the information the GPS provided was excessive, confusing, or not specific enough?  The GPS said "In 500 yards, the turn is on the left", for example, but it didn't tell you there were 3 left side turn possibilities within 10 yards of one another,  and you ended up doing so too soon? And really, it would have been so clear if the GPS had  just instructed you to use the left-hand on-ramp to access the highway! Salespeople can send your customers away in the same manner.  Stop that from happening by coaching your sales reps to provide an easy to follow roadmap to keep a prospective client on the right path.

Customers are on a journey when they are considering making a purchase.  First, find out where the customer wants to go.  At Metal Mafia, we start by asking how we can help. If the customer says he is looking for a particular size of jewelry, we don't start exhaustively listing every item we manufacture in that size, because it would make the customer's head spin, and ultimately too much choice makes customers shut down. Instead, we'll ask him what he wants to use the jewelry for. If he goes on to say it is for someone who has an allergy to nickel, from that, we can determine which of our products would work best, and curate what we show him.

Customers know where they are headed, but haven't always figured out the best way to get there. Learn how the customer intends to get to his destination. Every customer comes to a purchasing moment with his own set of ideas and constraints. Perhaps he needs to buy quickly, perhaps the cost is the most important factor, perhaps a particular product attribute will make or break the deal. My sales reps know that discovering this information allows them to save the customer time and get the deal done correctly. A rep might ask the customer, for example, to tell her the budget he had in mind. She can then show him jewelry made of materials that will fit his finances, or explain why his pricing expectations are not aligned with the attributes he wants the jewelry to have.  

Customers aren't prepared for unexpected hiccups in their travel plans. Make sure there are no unforeseen obstacles on the road the customer is hoping to take. This is the occasion to clarify how a customer's needs and limitations are aligned or might conflict with the company's offering.  A client ordering jewelry from my company on a Thursday, for instance, might state that he needs to have the product he is considering buying in-hand by Friday, but also mention that he does not want to pay a lot for shipping. A good salesperson, before overwhelming the customer with various shipping options and costs,  will first look to see where the customer is located. If the customer is 1 day away from us with ground shipping, we can both meet the delivery deadline and keep his shipping expense low, so there is no need to even mention overnight shipping costs.

Customers need to be given the greenlight to embark on their trip. Make sure the customer understands how to get to where he wants to go. The customer has just been given a lot of information, been asked to do things he may not have expected, and ultimately, has to make a decision. He can only do that if he feels well-informed and able to navigate the directions he has been given.  At my company, this means recapitulating his request and how we can help him in a way that is relevant to him. The sales rep gives him the price of the jewelry, reminds him that it will be made of titanium so the wearer's nickel allergy will not come into play, confirms that he will receive the jewelry the next day, and gives him the total cost of the purchase, including shipping, so he knows exactly how his bottom line is impacted and when his goods will arrive.

In this way, information is shared with the customer in an organized fashion, in terms he can comprehend, and in such a manner that he has a full understanding of what to do in order to obtain what he wants--with comfort and assurance.  Sales stay on track when salespeople are methodical, specific, and coherent because customers can get on board without hesitation.

Published on: Oct 18, 2017